1) The patriots had 9 drives in the game, and the safety essentially reduced it to 8. Considering the offense scored seventeen points, the differential in points wasn't just 2 - it was 4 points (since they averaged about 2 points per drive).
2) Giants hold the ball until the 3 minute mark in the 1st quarter. Considering the pats defensive woes, having them on the field for that long makes for a huge difference. It tires them out, and shortens the game for the pats offense, which is how we win games.
3) If we're up by 4 instead of 2, we have a chance to stop the giants from scoring a touchdown on the final drive. Some people think it's a given that they score a TD, but the Pats play decent redzone defense so I think there's a chance we hold them there.
4) Even if the Giants score a TD, the lead is 3 points and the patriots only need to score a FG. Rather than throwing a hail mary, they need to get to about the 30 yard-line. Shortening the field by 30 yards is huge when you have less than a minute left, and you have to think the pats have a much better shot of getting it done.
Considering all this, I think it's the biggest play of the game and deserves further analysis. Who's responsible? Is it on Belichick for calling a playaction pass that puts Brady in the end-zone? Is it on the receivers for failing to get open? Is it on the O-line for letting them get to Brady? Is it on the refs for blowing the call (some people say it's possible a reciever broke the route incorrectly)? Is it on Brady for failing to get out of the pocket and/or not throwing it closer to a receiver?
Of all these, I say it's on Brady with an assist going to Belichick. First of all, the play call is bad because instead of a 3-step drop and a throw from the 3 or 2 yardline, you start the play behind the goaline. As far as Brady, three seconds into the play he rolls right and is only about 2 feet from getting out of the pocket but steps back into pressure. One second later, a defensive lineman is barrelling down toward him. Brady should have known better and rolled out of the pocket when he had the chance. I think this mental lapse cost the Pats the game and it's none other than Brady & Belichick at fault for it.
Edited by Khabibul35, 07 February 2012 - 11:12 PM.